Officers who killed woman pointing BB gun at them were justified, DA says

Austin

The two Austin police officers who shot and killed a woman pointing a replica semi-automatic BB gun at them will not face criminal indictments, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

The officers’ deadly use of force in the shooting outside a south Austin apartment on Oct. 17, 2016 was justified, District Attorney Margaret Moore determined.

Officer Deborah Lindeman, a mental health officer, and Officer Richard Smith were called to the Club at Summer Valley Apartments before 4 a.m. that Monday for a welfare/domestic dispute call possibly involving a weapon.

The 911 caller told dispatchers he needed medical health assistance for his wife, 26-year-old Micah Jester. The DA says the woman’s husband went back and forth during the call whether or not his wife had a weapon.

By the time the officers arrived, it was still unclear if the caller’s wife was armed, investigators said.

As the two officers walked toward the apartment, the DA says Jester came out of a breezeway leading to the apartment and walked quickly toward the officers on a sidewalk, while pointing what appeared to be a handgun at them.

Jester told the officers, “Shoot me, shoot me, kill me,” according to APD Assistant Chief Troy Gay, who gave a briefing following the shooting. 

Lindeman and Smith took cover and fired their weapons, hitting Jester. The officers saw the woman fell and was still moving on the sidewalk, trying to get to the gun.

At this point, Moore says backup had arrived and officers were giving Jester commands to stop moving toward the gun.

When Jester touched the gun, Officer Lindeman fired her gun again and struck Jester. The DA says after the second series of shots, they saw she was no longer moving. 

Jester later died at a local hospital. 

Both Lindeman and Smith had been with APD for about 3 years at the time of the shooting. 

In July 2015, a man who pointed a BB gun at officers was shot and killed. A dispatcher described Richard Munroe, 25, as “distraught” and “suicidal.” An officer tried using a stun gun, but it was ineffective.

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